To invoke the Twelve Days of Christmas is to begin the season on the thirteenth of December, which was yesterday. Yesterday we woke up in Manitowoc to snow–the first of the season and light, powdery, blanketing snow it was, too. And so began the climb, the season of shoveling into the snowy bank.
In Alaska we shoveled a bit of show but as we lived in a remote village with no paved roads it was really only porches and steps that received such consideration. Everything else just got packed down with boot-wear or by the snowmachine track. And in Seattle, where I grew up, snow meant a duality of emotions and responses: glee, at least initially, at the novelty of this white stuff; then panic forever after as the realization of what snow in a supremely hilly and densely-packed city means to daily life. Which is why everything shuts down and the rest of the country would point to us and laugh. If only they knew.
But in Wisconsin, as I was telling my sister the other day via text message, snow falls on gently rolling hills or level roads and is ploughed or swept with hours, if not sooner. They are prepared for snowfall here, just the way Seattle is prepared for the millions of coffee-drinkers who enter the city every morning. Call it priorities, but in each case it’s a system that works.